Nonferrous Metals 241

Nonferrous Metals provides an overview of the properties and uses of common nonferrous metals, including aluminum, copper, magnesium, nickel, lead, and titanium. This class also discusses how refractory metals and how nonferrous metals are classified in the Unified Numbering System (UNS).

Selecting the best alloy for an application begins with understanding each metal's properties and interactions. Nonferrous metals, although not as widely used as steel, are still valued as essential alloying elements or for advanced applications. After taking this class, new or practicing manufacturers will be able to identify various nonferrous metals, their characteristics, and their uses.

  • Difficulty Intermediate

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 17

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Nonferrous Metals
  • Nonferrous Alloys
  • Classifying Nonferrous Metals
  • Nonferrous Metals Review
  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum Alloys
  • Aluminum Review
  • Copper
  • Copper Alloys
  • Magnesium
  • Identifying Nonferrous Metals
  • Nickel and Zinc
  • Lead and Tin
  • Nonferrous Metal Review
  • Refractory Metals
  • Titanium
  • Nonferrous Metals Review
  • Describe nonferrous metals.
  • Describe nonferrous alloys.
  • Identify nonferrous metal classifications.
  • Describe the properties of aluminum.
  • Describe aluminum alloys.
  • Describe the properties of copper.
  • Describe the properties of brass and bronze.
  • Describe the properties of magnesium and magnesium alloys.
  • Describe nickel and zinc.
  • Describe lead and tin.
  • Identify refractory metals.
  • Describe the properties of titanium.
Vocabulary Term


A metal consisting of a mix of two or more elements, one of which must be a metal. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon.


A nonferrous metal that is silvery white in color and lightweight. Aluminum resists corrosion and is a good conductor of electrical and thermal energy.


A nonferrous metal alloy of copper and zinc. Brass has high tensile strength and corrosion resistance but poor weldability.


A nonferrous alloy of copper and tin. Bronze has high corrosion resistance and is the most weldable copper alloy.


Pouring liquid material into a mold where it cools and solidifies into the shape of the mold cavity. Casting is usually used to create complex shapes or for materials that are difficult to machine.

coefficients of thermal expansion

The degree to which a material changes in size due to an increase in temperature. Refractory metals have a low coefficient of thermal expansion.


A nonferrous metal that is very ductile, thermally and electrically conductive, and corrosion resistant. Copper is often used to make electrical wiring.

corrosion resistance

The ability of a material to resist deterioration and chemical breakdown due to surface exposure in a particular environment. Copper and titanium have high corrosion resistance.

creep strength

The ability of a material to withstand a constant weight or force over an extended period of time. Aluminum tends to have poor creep strength.


The mass per unit of volume. Magnesium has a low density and tungsten has a high density.

die casting

A casting process that involes forcing liquid material into a mold at high velocity and pressure. Zinc and aluminum are often used in die casting.


The measure of a material's ability to be drawn, stretched, or formed without fracturing. Copper and lead are two nonferrous metals with high ductility.

electrical conductivity

The ability of a material to act as a medium for conveying electricity. Copper and aluminum are two nonferrous metals with high electrical conductivity.

ferrous metals

A metal in which iron is the main element. The main groups of ferrous metals are cast iron and steel.

galvanized steel

Steel that has been plated with zinc. Galvanized steels have a higher corrosion resistance than standard steels.


A nonferrous metal that is very soft, ductile, and heavy. Lead is a poor electrical conductor and is often used as a soldering alloy and sound dampener.


A nonferrous metal that is extremely lightweight. Magnesium is brittle and has poor wear resistance.

modulus of elasticity

A variable that describes the relationship of stress to strain within a material's elastic region. On a stress-strain graph, the modulus of elasticity depicts a material's tendency for temporary deformation.


A metallic alloying element that increases toughness, strength, and wear resistance. Molybdenum is considered a refractory metal and is often used in ferrous alloys.


A nonferrous metal that is hard and malleable. Nickel is often alloyed with other metals to improve the base metal's corrosion resistance.

nonferrous metals

A metal that does not contain iron as the main element. Aluminum, copper, and zinc are nonferrous metals.


The impure, natural state of a metal. Extracting an element from its ore is the first step in material processing.

oxide coating

A protective film that develops on the surface of metal when exposed to oxygen. Titanium develops an oxide coating when exposed to air.

plain carbon steel

Steel that contains less than 3% of elements other than iron and carbon. Plain carbon steel is considered the most pure form of steel.

plating metal

A metal that is added as a protective coating for another metal. Zinc is often used to plate steel.

refractory metals

A metal with an extremely high melting point. Tungsten, tantalum, molybdenum, and columbium are examples of refractory metals.

soldering alloys

A metal alloy that is melted at relatively low temperatures and used to join metal parts. Lead and tin are used as soldering alloys.

strength-to-weight ratio

The relationship between a material's strength and its weight. Materials that are light but also very strong have a high strength-to-weight ratio.


A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is almost completely immune to any acidic substances at temperatures below 150°F (66°C). Tantalum is considered a refractory metal.

thermal conductivity

A physical property that indicates how well heat energy transfers through a material. Materials with low thermal conductivity make good heat insulators.


A nonferrous metal that is very soft. Tin is often used as a plating metal and soldering alloy.


A nonferrous metal that is lightweight, corrosion resistant, and has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Titanium is often used in the aerospace industry.


A dense but brittle gray metal that has the highest melting point of any pure metal. Tungsten is considered a refractory metal and is often used in electrodes.

Unified Numbering System

UNS. A common classification system that is used for both ferrous and nonferrous metals. UNS designations include letters and numbers.


Bending, hammering or physically forming solid metal into a desired shape. Wrought metals are usually strong and wear resistant.


A bluish white metal that is corrosion resistant and has a relatively low melting point. Zinc is often used as a coating on steel.


A nonferrous metal that is corrosion resistant and has a relatively low melting point. Zinc is often used as a plating metal for steel.